A place where people with diverse culture and beliefs are living a simple yet unique life, that is how guests who came to visit described the province. And this is what Tnalak festival celebrates every second week of July in South Cotabato. It is the celebration of one of the symbols of the area and it is now hailed as one of the most colorful and memorable events. T’nalak is in fact a work of art, a woven piece of cloth with bright colours. The T’boli weavers elaborate their dreams into a beautiful tapestry made from deeply coloured abaca fibers.
Every year there is always something worth celebrating, and each year it never fails to surprise strangers and locals with its fun and truly splendid activities, from street dancing which portrays the different culture of its population, trade expos where a lot of local products can be seen, motocross, a Retro ball to welcome overseas Filipino workers as they join the celebration, down to pageant night where the most beautiful woman in South Cotabato is crowned.
As I roam around the busy flea market I can’t help but notice the smile in everyone’s face, children having fun in the rides, lovers comfortably eating in a nearby barbeque stand, and families having snacks in a pizza booth. There are so many things to do in this one week affair which once again shows that South Cotabateños are united, taking a break from the hardship in life.
T’nalak is getting its way to the top list of most admired festivals in Philippines most of all for the entire experience it has to offer. We may not have the fancy of a city life but we have a warm heart who will always welcome strangers, travellers who want to escape from a busy and chaotic living. Unfold the mystery of Mindanao’s most promising province, experienced T’nalak festival.
Next year it will be another celebration, another year to be proud of being a dweller of this extraordinary province.